Christine Hanna's 'The Winemaker Cooks' Offers Fresh Taste of Wine Country

Sonoma vintner shares recipes from the market and garden, plus wine & entertaining tips

Oct 29, 2010, 05:20 ET from Hanna Winery & Vineyards

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It's the book for every visitor to Northern California's wine country who ever had the wistful thought, "If only I could take a piece of this home with me."

Christine Hanna's The Winemaker Cooks: Menus, Parties, and Pairings—new from Chronicle Books and now available everywhere —is the product of a lifetime of working, living, playing, foraging and cooking in Sonoma County from a vintner, home chef, cooking teacher, mother and consummate hostess.

Part practical cookbook and part entertainment guide, The Winemaker Cooks captures the essence of a fast-evolving and much-admired culinary lifestyle. Hanna's cuisine absorbs Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American influences without forsaking California's Mediterranean ethic—or its wine. And it does so with ease and grace.

A native San Franciscan, Hanna spent many a childhood summer day on her family's simple Sonoma County ranch. Handed the reins of the family's nascent winery in her 20s, she led Hanna Winery & Vineyards to great acclaim. Most notably, the rich yet fresh Hanna Sauvignon Blanc from the cool Russian River Valley—inspired by the foods Chris loves to cook for gatherings of family and friends, and which she shares with the public in cooking classes around the country—gained critical and consumer success.

In The Winemaker Cooks Hanna presents more than 100 recipes, drawing from local farmers' markets and the garden that grows beside the rustic, century-old Alexander Valley hunting lodge she and her family call home. Her menus, brought to life with 75 luscious photographs by Sheri Giblin, pulse with the turning of the pages of the calendar, following the rhythm of the vineyard and the cellar.

"In the fall," she writes, "we bring in the grapes. And the tomatoes and melons and eggplants and figs. We see trucks stacked with grape bins making their way up and down our rural roads and two-lane highways.... The farmers' markets are open several times a week now, with a dazzling array. We eat al fresco almost always, the grill replacing the range."

Wine is at the center of Hanna's seasonally focused dining. In The Winemaker Cooks she sifts through the jargon and pretense to smartly address questions ranging from wine service to terminology to strategies for building a cellar and matches her impressively simple appetizers, main courses and seasonal salads with just the right varietal or regional specialty.

For instance, with Grilled Sweet and Hot Peppers, "Sauvignon Blanc can stand up to the heat of the chiles in this recipe," Hanna writes.  In her Fall Lettuces with Pear and Pecorino recipe, Hanna pairs the Chardonnay, "with its aroma and flavor of ripe pear, is a fine companion to this salad."  For Pan-Seared Hanger Steak with Porcini-Merlot Reduction, Hanna advises, "steak and Cabernet are meant for each other" and should be served with a classic Napa or Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Holidays, too, have never been more gorgeous at your table then when you follow Hanna's recipes and advice for special Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah feasts. And your unique parties—A Summer Dinner Under the Stars or an Ocean-Harvest Dinner—will be beautiful memories for all your guests for years to come.

Support for The Winemaker Cooks will include numerous appearances by Chris Hanna around the nation throughout the fall. For interview requests, contact Steve Singerman at or (847) 604-5825. For more information on The Winemaker Cooks: Menus, Parties, and Pairings, you may also visit

About Terlato Wines International

Terlato Wines International is the sole marketing agent for Hanna Winery.

Terlato Wines International has a global portfolio of more than 50 brands from a host of world class wine producers and presently markets more than one out of eight bottles of wine over $14 sold in America. Terlato, with more 90+ ratings than any wine company in the world, is the flagship company of the Terlato Wine Group, the parent company of several independent businesses specializing in the marketing and production of exceptional wines. Owned and operated by the Terlato family, the Group also includes the family's winery investments and partnerships in some of the world's most esteemed wine regions, including: Napa Valley; Sonoma County; Santa Barbara County; Victoria, Australia; the Rhone Valley in France; and Montalcino, Italy.

The Terlato Wines International portfolio of brands includes: Napa Valley: Brandlin, Chimney Rock, Cuvaison Estate Wines, EPISODE, Galaxy, Jack Nicklaus Wines, Luke Donald Collection, Markham Vineyards, Quickfire, Rutherford Hill, Tangley Oaks, Terlato Family Vineyards; Sonoma County: Alderbrook, Giarrusso, Hanna, Hideaway Creek, Rochioli and Terlato Family Vineyards; Santa Barbara County: Sanford and Tangley Oaks; California Appellation: Glass Mountain and Seven Daughters; Oregon: Sokol Blosser; Italy: Baglio di Pianetto, Ca' Marcanda (Gaja Toscana), Florio Martinez Marsala, Gaja, Il Poggione, Kettmeir, MAZZONI (Toscana), Santa Margherita, Tiramisu, Torresella and Distillatori Nonino (Grappa); France: Champagne Bollinger, M. Chapoutier, Domaine Chanson, Josmeyer, Langlois-Chateau and Mischief and Mayhem; Australia: Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier, Domaine Tournon and Two Hands; Argentina: Tamari; Canada: Peller Estates Icewine; Greece: Boutari; New Zealand: Wairau River; South Africa: Anthonij Rupert, Cirrus, Guardian Peak, Engelbrecht-Els, Ernie Els Signature and Rust En Vrede; Spain: Olvena; Switzerland: Xellent Swiss Vodka.; Japan: Shimizu-no-mai Sake. 

SOURCE Hanna Winery & Vineyards